There is a growing need for reconciliation and forgiveness in today’s world. I spoke of this recurring desire for forgiveness and reconciliation in the Message for this Lent. The Church, basing herself on the word of Christ, proclaims forgiveness and love for one’s enemies. By doing so she “is conscious to inspire in the spiritual patrimony of all humanity a new way of relating to each other; a somewhat difficult way but rich in hope” (Message, n. 4). This is the gift she offers to the people of our time.
“Be reconciled to God!”: these words insistently echo in our spirit. Today – the liturgy tells us – is the “acceptable time” for our reconciliation with God. With this in mind, we will receive ashes and take the first steps of our Lenten journey. Let us generously continue on this road, keeping our eyes firmly set on Christ crucified. For the Cross is humanity’s salvation: only by starting from the Cross is it possible to build a future of hope and peace for everyone.
LENTEN STATION PRESIDED OVER BY THE HOLY FATHER
IN THE BASILICA OF ST. SABINA ON THE AVENTINE HILL
HOMILY OF JOHN PAUL II
Ash Wednesday, 28 February 2001